Coming off another World Series appearance The Houston Astros are in a good place as currently constructed, but with some tough decisions looming here are five players they could look to move this offseason.
The Houston Astros set the baseball template for getting really bad to get really good. From 2011-2013, they went 162-324. But they’ve won over 100 games in three straight seasons now, winning the World Series in 2017, making it to the ALCS in 2018 and losing the World Series in seven games this past year.
But success, as if often does, comes with a price. The Astros are set to lose ace Gerrit Cole in free agency, if only because he’ll have multiple suitors ready to give him a contract Houston may not find palatable to match if they don’t want to push into luxury tax territory.
Houston isn’t necessarily primed to have an active offseason with Cole likely the lone notable loss, which can be filled in free agency and they’d still have a top-notch starting rotation. But some tough decisions are coming, as key pieces near the end of their arbitration eligibility or their contract in general.
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports cited league sources that expect the Astros to entertain the possibility of trading a big name this offseason. They can create some payroll space by non-tendering some arbitration-eligible players, but to create the room needed to make a real run at retaining Cole (assuming they want to do so) some more serious salary will have to be offloaded.
If the Houston Astros do look to trade someone notable this offseason, these five players are sure to be high on that list.
5. OF Josh Reddick
Reddick had a perfectly average season in 2019, with a .275/.319/.409 slash-line, 14 home runs, 56 RBI and 19 doubles over 550 plate appearances (141 games). He delivered a nice 4.1 bWAR in 2017, but has delivered 1.8 and 1.2 bWAR over the last two seasons.
A one-time Gold Glover (2012 with the Oakland Athletics), Reddick is still a pretty good defensive outfielder looking toward his age-33 season in 2020 (9 Defensive Runs Saved in 2019). His salary for next year is not excessive in the bigger picture, but is average offensive production and above-average defense worth $13 million?
Houston does have an internal option to take over in right field. Top prospect Kyle Tucker seemed to take a step forward in his second taste of the big leagues, as he posted an .857 OPS in 22 regular-season games last season. It’s safe to say he has conquered Triple-A (34 home runs and 97 RBI over 125 games last year), so the Astros may feel it’s time to open up a spot for Tucker and see if he sinks or swims. Trading Reddick, entering the final year of his contract, would shave some cost and easily open up that lineup spot for Tucker.